The New England Patriots and their non-existent offense roll into the Steel City tonight to take on Mitch Trubisky and the Pittsburgh Steelers as 6-point road pups, and TNF odds are giving us a total that would make a service academy game blush.
With all the eyes on the New England offense, the Pats' defense has been elite since the bye and worth backing vs. a Pittsburgh offense that came back to earth on Sunday and will be without Kenny Pickett — another reason the NFL odds pegged this total so low.
Patriots vs Steelers odds
Patriots vs Steelers predictions
Kenny Pickett wasn’t a Top 10 quarterback by any means, but he looked much better in Week 12 without Matt Canada and was on his way to a decent day last week in the rain before an ankle injury forced his exit. He had surgery yesterday and will concede QB duties to the one and only Mitch Trubisky, who finished 11-for-17 for 117 yards and one TD with no interceptions.
This was already a bottom-third offense and the switch to Trubisky is not a lateral one, hence the move from Pittsburgh -6.5 to -6. The Steelers could also be without starting guard Isaac Seumalo who exited last week.
It’s looking grim for this Pittsburgh offense which is in a tough spot vs. a defense that has allowed just 26 points over the last three weeks and held the Bolts to just 29 rushing yards on 24 carries last week.
The Patriots defense has given up the least amount of points since Week 9 and haven't won a single game. 😬 pic.twitter.com/n7FxBMw8Tc— theScore Bet (@theScoreBet) December 5, 2023
I’m assuming Bill Belichick and his defense are going to take away the Pittsburgh run game that has been decent of late as Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren are rushing for 5.1 yards per tote over the last three games, which is tied for the top rate over that stretch. They’ll be running into the league’s No. 1 rush defense since Week 11 and possibly without their best run-blocker in Seumalo.
That means it'll be up to Trubisky to top a Pittsburgh team total of 18.5, and that has me hitting the Under. It’s a short week to prep vs. New England Patriots defense that has held the last three opposing QBs to 602 yards and one TD while also allowing four total red-zone trips.
In his three appearances for the Steelers this year, Trubisky has completed less than 60% of his passes and has a 5.6 YPA while throwing a pair of picks on 49 passes.
Ultimately, this offense has scored 17 or fewer points in seven of its 12 games this season — including three straight — that will be turning to its backup QB on a short week (possibly without a key O-line starter) and facing the No. 1 defense over the last month of football.
Everyone wants to laugh at the Patriots offense, but Pittsburgh isn’t that much better and this is a bad matchup where the Pats will likely take away the Steeler’s strength and ask Trubisky to beat them.
My best bet: Steelers team total Under 18.5 (-112 at FanDuel) 25% live boost available
Picks made at time of writing may not reflect live odds.
Patriots vs Steelers same-game parlay
I don't see how the Pittsburgh defense can be paying +650 to score but the Patriots are nearly double that. Trubisky has two picks this year on 49 passes alone and seven picks on 229 passes while in Pittsburgh.
The Pats won't let the Steelers run and Mitch is going to have to drop back to beat this defense. Pittsburgh has allowed two defensive TDs this year, and I can't see either offense doing much here but New England team defense to score is too long at this price.
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Patriots vs Steelers spread and Over/Under analysis
The biggest betting story of this game is with the total that has fallen from 35 to 30 as of Tuesday and could possibly close in the 20s. This is the lowest total in an NFL regular season game in a generation.
The Patriots got nothing from Bailey Zappe last week as his offense was shut out, which brings their point total to 13 following the Week 10 bye. The Pats have gone 0-for-8 in the red zone over that stretch and Zappe failed to get the offense inside the 20 once last week.
Making things even worse for New England is the loss of Rhamondre Stevenson who is out multiple weeks. He's been the team’s best offensive player all season and will join Kendrick Bourne on the sidelines while Demario Douglas is still dealing with a concussion. Douglas was a DNP on Monday’s estimated practice report.
The Pittsburgh defense has a cupcake matchup but did allow Arizona to go 3-for-3 in the red zone last week in the rain and gave up a season-high 10 third downs including conversions of 21, 19, 17, and 15 yards. The Steelers are already without LB Kwon Alexander and his backup, Elandon Roberts, also exited last week.
I’m not rushing to bet an Under 30, but I do think it’s the right side. I’m picturing a very similar game as the LAC vs. NE game on Sunday which featured zero plays in the red zone.
If Mac Jones does start, New England could shorten up. I know he is broken, but he's a slight upgrade over Zappe who had just 39 yards on five of 12 passing in the first half last week. If I’m holding New England +6, I’d want Jones and Douglas in.
I can’t possibly lay six points with Trubisky on a short week vs. an elite defense. I don’t see many avenues where this Pittsburgh offense scores 20 points.
Both of these defenses have great opportunities to score this week and a defensive TD or special team TD is paying +290.
Other betting notes:
- It was reported backup NE QB Malik Cunningham had some red-zone plays but New England failed to get inside the 20. If Cunningham gets those snaps, that would make Zappe’s (or whoever is starting) Under 0.5 TDs more valuable.
- Harris had a 59% snap share to Warren’s 41% and he out-carried him 16 to nine but Harris had just six more yards. Warren’s rushing prop is 17 yards shorter than Harris’.
- Despite a 29-yard outing, Pat Freiermuth saw his snap share increase for a third straight game since returning.
- Elliott played 92% of the Pats’ snaps over the final three quarters.
- Hunter Henry continues to have a very small role in the passing game despite an increase in snaps and routes last week as he finished with two catches for 15 yards.
Patriots vs Steelers betting trend to know
The Pittsburgh Steelers have only hit the second-half game total Over in three of their last 17 games (-11.15 Units / -61% ROI). Find more NFL betting trends for Patriots vs. Steelers.
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Patriots vs Steelers game info
|Acrisure Stadium, Pittsburgh, PA
|Thursday, December 7, 2023
|8:15 p.m. ET
|Amazon Prime or NBC
|Steelers -6.5, 35 O/U
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